You Have a Choice – A Real Life Story with a Happy Ending

It’s your life. You can choose how you live it!

On a typical Monday morning Jess* was getting ready to go to her ultra-stylish office in the law practice, where she had advanced at a break-neck pace, and become a very young senior associate.Jess stood ironing one of her two dozen white blouses while tears trickled down her face. It was a scene that had repeated itself over and again for the past 40 Mondays or so and one that had become almost unbearable as it was familiar.  By now Jess had finished ironing and was sobbing. It was the kind of head bobbing, shoulders heaving, soul wrenching sobbing that you see in big screen dramas. This drama had become part of Jess’s real world.  When her boyfriend, Eric*, walked in, Jess knew he would try to comfort her, as usual and she would get through Monday and for another week, she would function like a well-oiled machine. But today would be different.

Instead of comforting Jess according to the well-versed routine, Eric literally blew his top; a rare thing for this laid-back guy! He slammed his hand against the door frame, “Enough of this, Jess! I won’t watch this anymore. Why do you keep doing this to yourself?  If you are so unhappy, stop working for that firm! You’re intelligent, your young, you have a top education. For goodness sake, you have a choice!”  The sheer force and heat of Eric’s words dried Jess’s tears instantly.  How could she have missed that? She had a choice.

Eric’s words, “You have a choice”, still echoed in her head. It was true. She did not have to be miserable for another 40 Mondays or even another 40 days. She could choose to stop pretending that she was someone she had not been since she finished law school, accepted what seemed like an amazing  offer and almost immediately realized that the high-paced, high-stress, high-conformity, sell-your-soul environment was someone else’s dream.  Although she recognized very early on that her career choice collided with her core values and her idea of an ideal life, Jess did not feel she had a choice about her next career move. Wasn’t it too late? Wouldn’t leaving make her a quitter and a loser? What about all the time, energy and money that she had invested in the best university and a top-notch law school? What would her friends and family say about her walking away from a rock star career and a position and lifestyle other people envied? In fact, everyone seemed to love Jess’s life – except Jess.

“I won’t tell you that the world matters nothing, or the world’s voice, or the voice of society. They matter a good deal. They matter far too much. But there are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now. Choose!” 
―    Oscar Wilde

That day, Jess decided that she really did have a choice. She chose to take responsibility for herself, to slam the brakes and get off the expressway to burnout. Over the next few nights that followed her big “Aha!”, Jess carefully defined her exit strategy, she chose to give up her life as an imposter law firm clone, to pursue a career and a life in which she could use her brilliant mind and still express herself freely and authentically.  She knew she wanted more than a hot career; she wanted a hot career and a life that fully reflected her personal values. –  The Happy End

The Happy New Beginning – Today, Jess works with others who are now struggling with the issues that once brought her to tears every Monday. She is an absolute rock star!  Oh, and she no longer owns any white blouses, although she still likes to iron clothes because she finds it “meditative.”

Does any of this resonate with you? Are you “functioning and performing well” without really living? Do you feel there is something else, something more out there for you?  Are you worried that you might be headed for burn out? You can take responsibility for your life and change what has not worked for you so far. You have a choice; in fact you have several choices.  You can do what you love and be happy. You can learn to love what you do and be happy. You can leave what you can’t learn to love and be happy. You can choose. And I can help you get from where you are now, to where you want to be.

Contact me today to schedule your complimentary consultation:

About Denise Banks-Grasedyck, Coach. Consultant. Speaker.

I'm an entrepreneur, a wife and a mother. I'm a Freedom Fighter for the overcommitted professional and a designer of Ideal-Life and Business blueprints. Discovering and developing simple solutions to complex challenges is one of my super powers. I write about life and business and everything that intersects them.
This entry was posted in Authenticity, Burnout Prevention, Out of the Comfort Zone, Work, Life and Balance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to You Have a Choice – A Real Life Story with a Happy Ending

  1. Wendi Kelly says:

    I love this! “You have a choice” We ALWAYS have a choice! Even when it doesn’t feel like it, even when we feel stuck, we have a choice of how we choose to think about a situation, how we choose to chow up in the world. Very inspiring story, Denise. Thanks!

  2. Great story, a lot of times when things get really rough that’s when we have a break through! Being uncomfortable pushes us to new levels of creativity. I love how Jess quit her job and now helps others struggling with the same issues.

  3. Aly Pain says:

    Whether we are faking it, or making it, It can be hard to tell from the outside. Regardless, a life that everyone else envies is worth nothing if you aren’t happy. There is always a choice.

  4. Elizabeth Clark says:

    How often do we see people who we think have amazing lives and they are hurting and unhappy?

    So glad *Jess woke up to her power and exercised her choice of work and lifestyle so she could express her authentic self. Now that she is being kind to herself, she has so much more to give to the world.

  5. jennifertruesdale says:

    Our power of choice is one of our our greatest powers. My neighbor has a rock in her garden engraved with the words “Nothing is written in stone”. It makes me laugh because well, it’s a stone with the words nothing is written in stone written on it 🙂 but it’s also a very powerful message. Nothing is written in stone. We always have the power to choose and to change, even when it’s scary and uncomfortable. It’s only when we give up this power that we are truly stuck. Bravo to Jess for her leap of faith.

  6. I loved reading this post today! It’s so amazing to me how we can so easily ensnare ourselves in a situation and feel as though the doors are closing. How easy it is to lose sight of the choices we do have!! This is a very powerful message, Denise and really gets me thinking about my own choice to move forward with what is most important to me. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Gabrielle,
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Most of us have or will have some similar experience at some point in life, even if it is not as extreme as it is in this story. It often takes more courage to move from a situation that is “fine” than it does when things have gone way down the drain, so congratulations on making the choice not to settle for less than what is most important to you.

      Wishing you grace for today!

  7. Jill Place says:

    LOVE your graphics, Denise. And I’m big on choices. I think happiness is a choice, not a goal.

  8. Wow, Denise, this is heavy. And I love it. I left a job I could no longer love after 18 years of pulling that same door open day after day. It was a quiet, thoughtful library job. I LOVED that job. For about a decade, as I slowly slowly became one of the go-to people in my small niche of botanical history. And when I got where I had been aiming all those years, it just wasn’t all that. My whole family is happier now that we aren’t completely tacked down by the 8:30-5 schedule and grueling commute from the burbs. I say thank you to my running mate every day, and whatever goddesses got into my head to make me see the light. th is is so great! xx angela

    • Thank you, Angela for commenting, for the kudos and for sharing your success story! Your story is one that could have come from any of my clients; so often we achieve our goals only to discover, as you say, “it’s not all that”. This is one of the reasons that it is important to know what you want and even more important to know WHY and align that to your core values. Where would the world be without your real gift and passion that is so evident with Angelleigh Designs? I am so glad you made that happen!

    • Oh, you darling. It must feel so good to help that alignment. I watched a replay of the recent Emerging Women conference, and one of the speakers talked about that work/soul alignment as the new spirituality. It really does feel like global improvement, new levels of honesty. How awesome that you are bringing that into the world. Carry on! xx a

    • What a powerful statement! Thank you so much.

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